Dietary flaxseed supplementation and the expression of adipokines
McCullough, Richelle Stephanie
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Dietary flaxseed has cardioprotective effects that may be achieved through its rich content of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha linolenic acid (ALA). We investigated the effects of dietary flaxseed both with and without an atherogenic cholesterol-enriched diet to determine the effects of dietary flaxseed on the expression of the adipose cytokines leptin and adiponectin. Rabbits were fed one of four diets: a regular (RG) diet, or a regular diet with added 0.5% cholesterol (CH), or 10% ground flaxseed (FX), or both (CF) for 8 weeks. Levels of leptin and adiponectin expression were assessed by RT-PCR in visceral adipose tissue. Consumption of flaxseed significantly increased plasma and adipose levels of ALA. Leptin, but not adiponectin, mRNA expression was lower in CH animals and was elevated in CF animals. Changes in leptin expression were strongly and positively correlated with adipose ALA levels and inversely correlated with levels of en face atherosclerosis. Our data demonstrate that the type of fat in the diet as well as its caloric content can specifically influence leptin expression. The findings support the hypothesis that the beneficial cardiovascular effects associated with flaxseed consumption may be related to a change in leptin expression.